Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension
December 4 2017.An article appearing on November 15, 2017 in the journal Aging announced the discovery of naturally occurring compounds that mimic the anticancer and antiaging effects of the prescription drugs metformin and rapamycin. Metformin is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes and rapamycin is used by organ transplant recipients to prevent rejection.
“We applied several bioinformatic approaches and deep learning methods to the Library of Integrated Network?based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) dataset to map the gene? and pathway?level signatures of metformin and rapamycin and screen for matches among over 800 natural compounds,” explained Alexander Aliper of Insilico Medicine Inc, and colleagues. “We then predicted the safety of each compound with an ensemble of deep neural network classifiers.”
The analysis identified allantoin and ginsenoside (from ginseng) as mimetics of metformin, epigallocatechin gallate (which occurs in green tea) and isoliquiritigenin (found in licorice) as mimetics of rapamycin, and withaferin A (found in ashwagandha) as a strong mimetic of both compounds. They also identified four novel compounds as rapamycin mimetics.
"This study is significant not only for the identification of novel candidate mimetics of metformin and rapamycin, which as natural compounds are not subject to regulatory bodies like the FDA and which have higher-scoring safety profiles as indicated by our deep-learned safety profile classification analysis, but also for demonstrating particularly powerful screening methods that can be applied to the identification of novel and safe mimetics of other known anticancer and healthspan-extending drugs and compounds" commented coauthor Franco Cortese, who is Deputy Director of the Biogerontology Research Foundation.
"Aging is not recognized as a disease, so we need strong potential geroprotectors of natural origin on the market–supplements that slow down aging, affecting the key mechanisms of aging at the molecular and cellular level," coauthor Alexey Moskalev, PhD, added.